Feb 1st 2019

IIT Awarded NSF Grant

Director of the MLA+U program and Professor Ron Henderson and faculty members Matthew Spenko and Boris Pervan of the Armour College of Engineering have been awarded a National Science Foundation grant from The Division of Social and Economic Sciences to support continued research about the impact of autonomous vehicles on the urban landscape (initiated by The Driverless City project).

The NSF grant will support investigations about how to reshape 20th-century transportation infrastructure (such as highways, intersections, roads, and sidewalks) for the 21st-century so that it may accommodate autonomous vehicles while addressing the needs of the entire community. To do so, it will explore trade-offs between three key elements: safety, usability, and aesthetics. It will then propose a suitable balance between these elements by developing a framework for reshaping the existing infrastructure. The resulting framework will serve to inform city planners, architects, and landscape architects how to plan and design cities in which autonomous vehicles safely interact with humans, and it will serve to educate roboticists on how to ensure that the technology they are developing has a positive societal impact.

The Division of Social and Economic Sciences (SES) seeks to enhance the understanding of individual, social, and organizational behavior by creating and sustaining social science infrastructure, and by supporting disciplinary and interdisciplinary research that advances knowledge in the social and economic sciences.